On the third Saturday of each month, volunteer members of the Tolomato Cemetery Preservation Association, open the grounds to visitors; and, last week, Historic City News learned that over 400 visitors came through the gates between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
The historic cemetery, once the parish cemetery for the Cathedral Parish and located on the site of an earlier Franciscan Indian mission, was recently listed in the magazine of the American Automobile Association.
Saturday’s attendance spike may have been attributed, in part, to the visit of Joe Biden at Ketterlinus Gymnasium; however, guides have reported that some visitors have timed their trip to St Augustine just to coincide with the third Saturday openings.
While volunteer narrators, like Elizabeth Gessner, clothed in period attire, lead guests on docent tours, other volunteers, like Matt Armstrong, spent the afternoon finishing up the ironwork restoration project.
Armstrong, with the aid of some 15 volunteers, started the project about two weeks ago. Saturday, he was putting flat black oil-based paint on top of the cleaned, primed and undercoated metal.
He explained to visitors who stopped to chat with him that the metal restoration is a time-consuming process. Armstrong says that some of them have signed up to help when the project continues in November.
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News contributed photograph by Nick McAuliffe and Louise Kennedy